Review: The Finalists by David Bell


Release date: July 5, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Mystery/Thriller


The competitive selection process for a prized college scholarship turns deadly in the latest thriller from USA Todaybestselling author David Bell.
On a beautiful spring day, six college students with nothing in common besides a desperate inability to pay for school gather to compete for the prestigious Hyde Fellowship.

Milo–The front-runner.
Natalia–The brain.
James–The rule follower.
Sydney–The athlete.
Duffy–The cowboy.
Emily–The social justice warrior.

The six of them must surrender their devices when they enter Hyde House, an aging Victorian structure that sits in a secluded part of campus.

Once inside, the doors lock behind them. The students are not allowed to leave until they spend eight hours with a college administrator who will do almost anything to keep the school afloat and Nicholas Hyde, the privileged and notoriously irresponsible heir to the Hyde family fortune. If the students leave before time is up, they’ll be immediately disqualified.

But when one of the six finalists drops dead, the other students fear they’re being picked off one by one. With a violent protest raging outside and no way to escape, the survivors viciously turn on each other.

The Finalists is a chilling and profound look at the lengths both students and colleges will go to survive in a resource-starved academic world.


David Bell has been one of my go to thriller authors for years now so I’m always excited when he has a new book out. He consistently writes books that are compelling, twisty and entertaining. Unfortunately I struggled with this one, it just didn’t feel like the type of solid book I’m used to from the author.

I think my biggest issue here was I didn’t believe in any aspect. I didn’t buy that a group of people locked inside a house would just stay when someone drops freaking dead and it just went on from there. I usually like a locked room style mystery but the reason for them being locked up just didn’t make sense or work for me. It’s hard to describe my frustration without giving you much away, so I’ll stop here and just say I’m still a fan of the author and I’ll be looking forward to his next book but this was a miss for me.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

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